08/11/2014 12:36 pm ET Updated Aug 11, 2014

Why This Acclaimed Documentary Made By High School Students Is Causing Controversy

A group of high school students and fresh graduates recently released a documentary about vaccinations after realizing that their community in California had decreasing rates of vaccination compliance, according to PBS. The documentary, which was made by a group of 16 students while they attended Carlsbad High School, is receiving high praise.

The 42-minute film explores "the science of disease and the risks facing a society that is under-vaccinated," according to the outlet. However, even before its release, the film garnered its fair share of controversy.

Despite scientific evidence proving there is no correlation between autism and vaccines, as the students prepared to debut their film months ago, they received vocal opposition from groups who believe otherwise, according to The Los Angeles Times. The groups called the film a piece of propaganda accused the students of taking bribes from pharmaceutical companies.

But the film has elicited support from physicians.

"Into the fray has stepped an interesting group of high school students from Carlsbad, Calif., who have made a movie called Invisible Threat," wrote Dr. Paul A. Offit of the Vaccine Education Center in April on the site Medscape. "They wrote it, filmed it, edited it, and put it together ... It is an excellent film."

"It is a wonderful movie," said Dr. Trish Perl, an infectious-disease specialist at Johns Hopkins Medicine, to the LA Times. "I would have loved it to be shown in my children's school."

Some of the students making the film initially believed that vaccines could be linked to autism. However, throughout the filmmaking process, they changed their minds, according to the outlet.

"It was all social controversy. There was no science controversy," said Allison DeGour, who is currently a student at the high school.

The release of the film was designed coincide with National Immunization Awareness Month, in August, reports the Times of San Diego. The full documentary can be rented at chstvfilms.org.



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